The Problem with Learning

How failing learning solutions are costing companies far more than just their learning budget


More and more companies are realizing that their learning solutions aren’t delivering measurable results. Whether employees go through e-learning or are spending time in the classroom, the way we deal with learning is outdated. Most learning solutions end up offering a false sense of security, while failing to accomplish their primary goal: making sure employees remember those things they need to know to do their job well.


The impact of failing learning solutions is dire. Essential knowledge surveys conducted across several industries and roles have proven that on average employees have only 40% of the knowledge needed to do their job. When employees are uninformed, they’re not just far less productive, but also much more vulnerable to making mistakes.

The direct damage from these mistakes alone costs companies in the US and UK $37 billion per year. The larger the business the worse the impact tends to get. In fact an IDC study indicates that on average businesses with 10,000 employees are each losing $6.2 million annually, that’s $620 per employee. This  does not include indirect damage to their brand, reputation and customer satisfaction.


Obviously, the direct damage that can be attributed to mistakes is only the tip of the iceberg. When using ineffective learning solutions, the impact on productivity and results are costing businesses far more. Employees end up spending countless hours of their productive time learning and in the end still lack the knowledge they need to get results and do their job efficiently.

In fact, an average employee spends 54 paid working hours per year on learning and training. Which results in $1.688 in lost revenues and costs their employer $1.120 in wages. On average they master 40% of the required knowledge, and may spend up to 81 paid working hours filling the gaps. This lost productivity costs businesses $2.808 to $7.020 per employee per year in total.


Despite the costs of establishing and maintaining the knowledge levels of employees using traditional solutions being enormous, they pale in comparison to those of not dealing with the problem at all. With job hopping quickly becoming the norm, employees younger than 32 change employers on average every 2.5 years. A number that used to be 5 just a decade ago.

Despite job hopping in some fields becoming as frequent as once per 1.5 years and many industries dealing with an aging workforce, it still takes 8 months before learning and training help employees reach full productivity. In a world where technology and business models are rapidly changing, this learning curve has become a threat to the continued existence of many businesses.


It is clear that failing learning solutions are costing companies far more than just the dollar value of their learning budget. Luckily there is a way to solve this problem and make learning work for you.